FSG already left Liverpool legacy as 'famous' Man Utd feature is another Jim Ratcliffe headache

Sir Jim Ratcliffe (R) and Avram Glazer owner of Manchester United during the Emirates FA Cup Semi Final match between Coventry City and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium on April 21, 2024 in London, England.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is off to an inauspicious start as minority owner of Manchester United. While he's not yet had time to get his feet under the desk, he can't be thrilled that his takeover of all footballing matters has coincided with a dip in results that threatens any kind of European involvement next season.

Nor have his early reforms struck an especially inspiring chord. Liverpool owners FSG have often got things wrong, but there won't be any jealousy among Reds fans just yet after a process of putting out feelers about a potential sale ultimately came to nothing.

Ratcliffe hit the headlines recently for a memo complaining about untidiness around the Man United facilities. He's also issued a return-to-office mandate — far from the first high-up boss to ignore the benefits of remote working, these changes nonetheless hardly scream of a club whose house will soon finally be in order, not least because the offices are not currently set up to accommodate a fully in-person workforce.

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Ratcliffe is also setting about trying to tackle the big-picture issues, and one of the biggest he faces is the same dilemma FSG addressed when they first arrived at Liverpool. Indeed, it's a common question for new, ambitious owners: stick or twist on the stadium?

Businesspeople need to realize they are inheriting community institutions, not mere cash cows. Often, they are dealing with more than a century of history when it comes to deciding whether or not to uproot a team from its home ground.

Nevertheless, Ratcliffe is said to be in favor of abandoning Old Trafford and building a new ground (Independent), although he is open to renovating the existing stadium. And in fairness, it's clear that something drastic needs doing.

As the home defeat to Arsenal drew to a conclusion, the rain cascaded through the leak in the Old Trafford roof, creating a cascade down the steps. Sky Sports presenter David Jones jokingly described the 'Old Trafford waterfall' as 'famous around the world'.

This is not a claim to fame Manchester United, once the most successful team in England, would like to have. Yet as well as summing up their rapidly-deteriorating season, the downpour through the roof seemed to sum up the bigger problems Ratcliffe is faced with too, embodying the stagnation and decline compared to rivals like Liverpool.

FSG, of course, ultimately chose to keep Liverpool at Anfield. They have embarked on a steady process of upgrading and modernizing the ground, to the point where it now boasts a bigger capacity than the Emirates, an expensive and state-of-the-art development not so long ago.

How often has Jürgen Klopp invoked the history of Anfield when inspiring a historic performance? That's not to say he couldn't have succeeded at a different home, but the weight of Liverpool's past is contained in that stadium. Visiting teams are not just playing the 11 players selected by the manager of the day, they are seeking to overcome decades of precedent that insist home advantage is paramount inside these four walls.

Ultimately, Anfield is part of what makes Liverpool special. And amid all of the FSG mis-steps, over ticket pricing, the Super League and whatever else, it has not severed that one fundamental connection.

If and when FSG do finally call it a day, they will leave Liverpool in its historic home, but having set Anfield up for decades to come. That's a significant legacy to leave behind, and as Ratcliffe contemplates the infamous leaky roof at Old Trafford, he could do a lot worse than looking at the old enemy. Whatever decision he makes, Manchester United will take years to stand a hope of truly catching up.